The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

November 22, 2011

It's hard to blame companies that flee, except Ommegang

Daily Star

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In 1932, Will Rogers said: "This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation."

If you were a businessman today, either here or abroad, you would have to consider our present anti-business climate. Although I believe the USA is the best place for investment, I realize others may experience doubt.

President Barack Obama said: "We've been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We've kind of taken for granted (that) people will want to come here, and we aren't out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America."

These words were spoken by a man that never had a real job, but with the present political climate that he promotes, our president may be correct.

With Obama, the Democratic Party, major labor unions, the Communist Party USA, and the Socialist Party of America all in sympathy with Occupy Wall Street, a group of bums protesting and promoting political unrest and an anti-business climate, many will look to greener pastures.

OWS is a movement that includes a generous measure of weirdos, socialist ideologues, troublemakers and paid agitators.

A recent unscientific poll by New York magazine showed that 34 percent of demonstrators believed the U.S. government was no better than al-Qaida. Real patriotic bunch!

Out in Oakland, an OWS rally closed down the fifth-largest port in the United States. Products could not be shipped and workers were not able to do their jobs. Bonfires were set in the streets, and police were called in to restore order.

With arrests in the thousands and taxpayer costs in the many millions, OWS and its clones in other major American cities are certainly not promoting investment in America. Neither are our political leaders, by promoting or condoning such behavior.

In another display of class, the public urination in Zuccotti Park reminds me of another Will Rogers quote. He said something about "peeing on an electric fence." Just wishful thinking.

Moving past the OWS dog and pony show, our president has, since taking office three years ago, done nothing but hammer business and industry with threats of new taxes and more-stringent regulation and environmental laws. Is it any wonder that unemployment and foreclosures remain high and business investments remain low?

Obama has delayed an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, citing the need to protect "environmentally sensitive" areas. The pipeline would carry 700,000 barrels to refineries in Texas and conservatively create 20,000 new jobs. The decision on the pipeline was put off until after the 2012 elections.

The Canadians, displeased, threatened to sell the oil to China. You know, it seems like every industrial project is always in an "environmentally sensitive" area. Why is that?

The administration had even proposed a Christmas tree tax. A Christmas tree tax! Fifteen cents per tree, and with 28.8 million trees sold annually, that would raise $4,230,000 each year. Of course, the funds will go to promote the sale of natural trees, much like the lottery goes to fund education.

Another business "magnet" is the once-proud Empire State. We have the financial capital of the world, the greatest natural harbor, extensive interstate highways, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Great Lakes, rich farmlands and the Hudson River that allows Albany to be a seaport, and we're almost broke.

Locally, farms are a fraction of their former number, St. Mary's School has closed, and the Soccer Hall of Fame is defunct. Restaurants are closing, Amphenol may move, school population has dropped, and the Oneonta Tigers baseball club is elsewhere.

We sit upon a large reserve of natural gas, the cleanest burning energy, and we're afraid to act. The same people who use energy produced elsewhere moan and groan at the thought of gas exploration in our area. Contamination, truck traffic and lower property values are foreseen by the same folks who predict earthquakes caused by fracking. Are we to believe fracking will move the continental shelf?

As New York dies economically, we are also threatened by Ommegang Brewery. It is warning that it would have to consider relocating if the town of Middlefield's ban on gas drilling is struck down and horizontal gas drilling begins. Ommegang employs about 83 people. Big screaming deal! I've seen years when that number of farms have gone out of business.

Are we to miss the boom of gas exploration over concocted environmental concerns and threats that certain businesses will "take their ball and go home"?

Focus! Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

The U.S. government, New York state and local towns and villages would be well-served to heed another Will Rogers quote, "If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."

Chuck Pinkey is the owner of River Valley New Holland Inc. in Otego. He can be reached at The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Star and its editorial board.